The Business Travel Coalition has expressed its enthusiasm over the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) decision to apply consumer airline protection. The rule would require airlines to declare any ancillary fees along with the standard information provided at all points of sale. Some of the common added fees include checked baggage and ticketing fees. Regarding the issue of providing global distribution systems with the fee information, however, the DOT has opted to make a decision at a later date.
The problem with the current policies in place with many airlines is that travel programs are unable to provide consumers with fair and truthful cost comparisons for various airlines when they have no way of knowing what ancillary fees will be applied after the purchase process is initiated.
“For two and one-half years, despite major corporations’ substantial collective purchasing power and their continuing calls for fee transparency, airlines have refused to provide TMCs with this vital information,” stated BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell.
This unwillingness to hear consumer and corporate concerns led the BTC to appeal to the DOT to come up with more direct rule that will give consumers the fair shopping experience they deserve. Among the other requirements of the decision by the DOT are requirements for airlines to reimburse passengers for lost luggage and proper compensation for passengers bumped off flights.
For now airlines will be required to list their additional fees on their own websites, and other websites, such as travel agencies will note that “additional fees apply”. BTC believes that the DOT is heading in the right direction with this decision.